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Bronson Kaufusi: Ideal 3-4 Defensive End

Bronson Kaufusi raises his arms.
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Reloading on the defensive front was a key priority for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2016 NFL Draft, and one player who figures to step in and offer immediate help on the defensive line is third round pick Bronson Kaufusi.

A four-year player at BYU, Kaufusi steadily improved each season as a defensive end and stand-up pass rusher.


After moving on from Chris Canty, the Ravens desperately needed defensive end help, and Kaufusi fills that void. He enters Baltimore with sparse competition; Lawrence Guy is the only proven defensive end, however Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore both worked into the rotation last season.

In terms of finding a role, Kaufusi should not have a hard time. Just how much of a role he can take on as a rookie is the true question.

Let’s take a look at Kaufusi and why he should have success in Baltimore’s defense.

As a pure pass rusher, Kaufusi looks awkward bending the edge, but moves surprisingly well given his 6’6 frame.

Kaufusi regularly rushed from the edge – either as a down lineman such as in the play above or as a stand-up pass rusher – at BYU, but in Baltimore’s 3-4 defense, he will need to make his impact inside the tackles.

It is hard to project his interior rush ability given how few chances he had. For the most part, Kaufusi’s pass rush consisted of moves around the edge, regardless of his pre-snap stance.

In the few chances he did have to rush up the middle, Kaufusi showed off his ability to use his strength and length to push toward the quarterback.

From a development standpoint, the single biggest mountain to climb for Kaufusi will be his adjustment to playing the five-tech role in a 3-4 defense. He has experience at defensive end, but will need to adjust to new surroundings, particularly the fact that he will regularly have an edge rusher to his side on any given play.

An outside pass rush will force Kaufusi to rush from the interior more, which could present a learning curve.

As for run defense, the projection is a bit more simple. Kaufusi is the type of player who can effectively use his length to carry the blocker with him, seal off the run lane and make the stop.

This trait should make for an easier adjustment to Baltimore’s defense than the pass rushing aspect.

Kaufusi’s overall projection in Baltimore’s hybrid 3-4 defense is promising. Like Kamalei Correa, Kaufusi comes in with a defined role he needs to fill. Pass rushing goes beyond the edge rushers, and having a proven player who can get to the quarterback as a defensive lineman is a plus.

In year one, it would not be a surprise to see Kaufusi step in immediately into the rotation at defensive end. Likewise, he and Urban give the Ravens two lengthy defensive ends who can seal off passing lanes and hold the edge.

The third round is historically one of the team’s best drafting rounds, and the selection of Kaufusi will likely continue that tradition.

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